What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat to in the Summer and Winter?

Thermostat Settings

Throughout the year in Indianapolis and across Central Indiana, the temperature will fluctuate from hot and humid in the summer to frigid and below-freezing in the winter. If you’re constantly adjusting and cranking the temperature on your thermostat, it will lead to higher-than-expected utility bills and overall frustration and discomfort.

Finding ways to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter will help you deal with the extremes, but it’s still important to know the best temperature for your home.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about the best thermostat setting for winter and summer that will keep you comfortable and lower your electricity bill. One of the best and most trusted sources of information regarding the proper thermostat settings is the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Keep reading to learn more about what temperature to set the thermostat at for every season.

Recommended Thermostat Settings in the Winter

Although the wind chill might make it frigid outside, it should not be cold inside your house. Even if the temperature drops to single digits, you can rely on your furnace or other heating system to keep your home comfortable.

In the winter, the DOE recommends keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you are awake and at your house. This temperature not only keeps your house warm but should also help prevent your pipes from freezing.

However, to help save money and be more energy efficient, it’s an option to adjust the temperature depending on where you are and what you’re doing. Specifically, the DOE suggests turning the temperature on the thermostat down while you’re sleeping or out of the house.

Even by lowering the thermostat by seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day, you can see up to a ten percent decrease in your annual heating expenses. This figures out to be as much as one percent for each degree lowered.

It’s important to remember that percentage change goes both ways. If you’re freezing in your house when the thermostat is set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect a one percent increase in your heating bill.

Recommended Thermostat Temperatures for the Summer

Summers in Indiana can be brutally hot. But, like your heat, you should hesitate before cranking your air conditioner to try to cool your house down faster. This will only waste energy and put extra stress on your appliances, which over time, can decrease its operational efficiency. Plus, it’s not proven to be effective in cooling your home down any faster.

During the summer, the biggest challenge is finding the right temperature that balances your comfort with saving money and energy.

That is why the DOE recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home during the summer. While this might make your house a little warmer than you’re used to, it does help reduce the cost of your energy bill significantly.

When you leave during the summer, do not be afraid to crank up your thermostat setting between 85 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The DOE estimates this can help you save as much as ten percent on cooling costs annually.

Recommended Thermostat Settings for Spring and Fall

During the fall and spring, you’re less likely to experience the extreme temperatures and conditions associated with winter and summer. However, the weather can still be unpredictable, which can make setting your thermostat a little tricky.

If you have a programmable thermostat, we recommend the following thermostat settings during the spring and fall:

  • During warmer periods, set the thermostat to 78 degrees during the day, and 86 degrees if you leave the house.
  • During cooler times, set the thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re at home and awake, but lower it to 65 degrees when you’re asleep. You can even lower it further to 60 degrees when you leave the house.

Even with a programmable thermostat, it is best to place the device on “auto” mode during the spring and fall. This allows you to set the desired temperature as the weather changes and makes it easier to lower your energy bill.

Why You Should Adjust the Temperature When You Leave the House

One of the keys to maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home while saving money and being energy efficient is to lower the temperature on the thermostat when you leave the house.

Our team of HVAC professionals recommends the “8 is Great” rule, which states:

Adjust your temperature by eight degrees when you know you’re leaving the house for at least two hours. For example, if your thermostat is set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while at home during the winter, turn it down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit before heading out to work, school, or running errands.

Some people find it difficult to remember to adjust the thermostat as they’re running out the door. Others forget to turn it back once they arrive home and soon find themselves freezing or sweating.

This is where a programmable thermostat comes in handy. It allows you to automate the process. With a programmable thermostat, you have the ability to just set the times and temperature settings you want without having to think about it ever again. This is especially helpful if you have a set schedule.

For example, you leave the house for work every day at 8:00 a.m. and return by 5:00 p.m. You can program the thermostat to adjust during the hours you are away while ensuring it’s back to your preferred temperature before you get back home.

Whether it’s learning the best temperature settings, or which programmable thermostat is right for you, Chapman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about your home’s heating and cooling system so you can stay comfortable no matter the season.